In 1986, punk legends Black Flag split up. Less than a year later, former vocalist Henry Rollins formed a new band, Rollins Band. After two post-hardcore albums, he decided to turn their sound into a progressive form of alternative metal in the 3rd album... 1992's The End of Silence showed a new era for the band since getting signed to Imago Records. Prolific producer Andy Wallace helped bring life to the production and gave Rollins' vocals a chance to be in front of the line of the compact sound. His once-punk-filled audience has expanded to more than just that. The album attacks with his well-focused writing that would make anyone outside the Black Flag fanbase want more. It starts with 4 vicious yet catchy alt-metal songs, two of which ended up as singles that caused Rollins' work to spread to MTV and metalheads. Then the band switches gears to a more progressive sound from "Almost Real" onwards, with most of those remaining tracks ranging from over 7 minutes to nearly 12 minutes, and having a complex structure enhancing the alt-metal side of the sound. Although "Blues Jam" is right in the name, a 12-minute blues jam. The End of Silence opened the gates for metalheads and alt-fans to explore the music created by this talented man from the 80s punk scene....
5/5. The opening track of its original album and this playlist starts with some Maori warriors chanting while rowing their boat over stormy seas. Then the storm becomes pummeling as fast riff groove comes in. The verses have a simple melody that pushes along like when those warriors push their oars, as the seas have different layers. It also fits well for a gym workout. An excellent boat-rower!
Biohazard – These Eyes (Have Seen) (1996)
4.5/5. These ears haven't heard before an amazing blended of Pantera groove with rapping. Pretty cool, right?
Demon Hunter – Revolutions (2022)
4.5/5. Then enters this rebellious track, ranging in vocal variety, battling between the screaming empire and the soft-singing rebellion.
Imminence – Death by a Thousand Cuts (2023)
5/5. Another f***ing banger from this band I should listen to more of. G****mn, I look forward to their new album The Black!
Karnivool – Mauseum (2005)
5/5. The heaviness builds up again with this slower highlight that I found a few years before the rest of this band's material.
Katatonia – Lethean (2012)
4.5/5. One of the nicest songs from this band!
Sleep Token – The Offering (2019)
5/5. It's so incredible how perfectly the vocals, guitars, and drums can flow from anger to despair at ease. Discovering this band via their new album Take Me Back to Eden was a pleasant experience, and songs from their other albums like this one make me want more.
Spotlights – Crawling Toward the Light (2023)
4.5/5. Then we have the ominous experimentation again with this band, this time with a similar vibe to Madder Mortem.
Type O Negative – Anesthesia (2003)
4/5. RIP Peter Steele. This was what I enjoyed when I was still highly in the gothic metal zone. The bass and synths shine well here. Though I still prefer upbeat power of songs like "I Don't Wanna Be Me".
Ugly Kid Joe – Sweet Leaf/Funky Fresh Country Club (1991)
4.5/5. This playlist ends with two over 7-minute covers of classic heavy metal songs, the first of which doing the original Sabbath song justice despite adding more funk and the vocals of Whitfield Crane sounding a bit nasal.
Waltari – Infinite Dreams (2011)
5/5. And here's the other cover, perhaps the best Maiden cover I've heard! It's part of a special covers album to celebrate the band's 25 anniversary. The band really lets out their influences here, often sounding like Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath and Metallica, while throwing in some... Johnny Cash-like country?!? And melodeath?!?! Now that's wild! Kärtsy Hatakka is a true genius.
This week's revisit to Mr. Bungle's self-titled debut album has seen me changing my Top Ten Funk Metal Releases of All Time list a little with Ugly Kid Joe's "As Ugly As You Wanna Be" E.P. being the unlucky release to drop out:
01. Faith No More - "The Real Thing" (1989)
02. Primus - "Frizzle Fry" (1990)
03. Mr. Bungle - "Mr. Bungle" (1991)
04. Faith No More - "Introduce Yourself" (1987)
05. Primus - "Sailing The Seas Of Cheese" (1991)
06. Scatterbrain - "Here Comes Trouble" (1990)
07. Living Colour - "Time's Up" (1990)
08. Mordred - "In This Life" (1991)
09. Infectious Grooves - "The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move... It's the Infectious Grooves" (1991)
I gave a review of this album last year, but I was not impressed. In This Moment were one of the fringe metalcore bands that I listened to during high school and starting into my post-secondary. I remember Maria Brink's distinctive vocal timbre in relation to another Century Media girl: Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, and how much more expressive she was. Through the 2010s, this bands songwriting flailed out of control, but was still tolerable thanks to Maria's vocals. But on Godmode, In This Moment and their producers did everything in their power to remove that identity from the equation. The instrumentals are tinny and compressed to hell and back, and the vocals are just so uninspired. There is no dynamic growth or development here and it leaves the whole thing feeling flat.
It's a shame because there are melodic motifs that sound decent, but it's hard to focus on when all I can hear is the lead pipe snare drum and whiny guitar timbre. A production closer to 3TEETH would have worked wonders, and Maria would have been able to express herself more, but as it is, Godmode is kind of a mess.
5/5. Let's start this playlist with an awesome tune that's basically like a country song with an epic and metallic punch!
Bad Wolves – It's You (2 Months) [feat. KILLBOY] (from Die About It)
4.5/5. Now this one's interesting as h*ll! This song starts off with some trap-pop verses then rises into powerful metal choruses. Some bada** inspiration there!
BOI WHAT – Neon Tide (from Neon Tide)
4/5. Here's some more of this great music from Boi What and his AI voice filters of Plankton, Spongebob, and Karen, with guitars heating up like wildfire. Someone should make a Spongebob music video for this killer piece of Spongecore!
Calva Louise – Feast is Over (from Over the Threshold)
4.5/5. My brother is often on a search for music to feast his ears on, as well as my ears. This is another one of those songs he stumbled upon and added to his playlist. It basically like a pop tune gone as f***ing heavy as death/thrash metal! And I thought Maria Brink was the metal scream queen (she still is)...
Cane Hill – (The New) Jesus (from Smile)
5/5. Holy f***ing sh*t, now this is some fantastic nu metalcore! I need to keep up with discovering more awesome stuff like this.
Disbelief – Misery (from Worst Enemy)
4.5/5. This heavy track has a dynamic groove sound, especially in the chorus. The first verse will let you know what you're in for, "Hey you, place called earth! Let me explain to you who I am! I’m your worst nightmare!"
Disciple – By God (from By God)
4/5. "YEEEEEEEEEEEHAW!!!" That's the sound Christian cowboys getting ready for the ride of their lives to close the portals to Hell and praise God in this solid track.
Disturbed – Down With the Sickness (from The Sickness)
4/5. You know this as one of their most popular songs, starting with that killer opening riff and vocalist David Draiman's memed-to-death primal shriek of "OOH-WAH-AH-AH-AH". The song has been used in many films, TV shows, and video games. This is Disturbed's true anthem! My brother likes it too, but he skips its disturbing bridge which has Draiman roleplaying as a kid being attacked by his abusing mother and ultimately fighting back. I've heard more disturbing sh*t than that, so I can handle that just fine.
Limp Bizkit – Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle) (from Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water)
4.5/5. Let's skip ahead a bit and start ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN'! My brother has been enjoying this band lately, though surprisingly he didn't start listening to them as early all those other bands he likes. The second verse is one of the best rap verses I've heard, much better lyrics than most other hip-hop lyrics out there.
Sleep Token – Ascensionism (from Take Me Back to Eden)
5/5. This one ascends through 7 minutes of sonic emotion. Melancholic piano and delicate vocals start things off before an atmospheric buildup. Then we switch to that electronic trap beat as Vessel takes on autotuned rap-ish singing that I would rather hear from him instead of T-Pain. Just listen to that personality! Things get tense as another verse builds, and finally, a heavy breakdown occurs, a little more touching piano, and then ground-pounding finale.
Sonic Syndicate – Leave Me Alone (from We Rule the Night)
5/5. PAIN's cover of this perfect epic song is what got me interested in Sonic Syndicate and loving them so much. This is one of my favorite Sonic Syndicate songs besides "Jack of Diamonds" which I'll talk about in the Revolution playlist. I'm definitely getting some Dead by April/Linkin Park vibes here, and that never disappoints me.
Sum 41 – Goddamn I'm Dead Again (from 13 Voices)
4.5/5. Desperate anger sears through this greatness. I saw the music video for this on MTV and it adds to the killer power of the song. My own scenario for this would be an epic battle between punks and metalheads in a mosh pit as the band performs, especially during a whole minute of Bullet for My Valentine gone DragonForce guitar soloing.
Twelve Foot Ninja – Over and Out (from Vengeance)
5/5. This jazzy standout, that might remind some of Faith No More, features Tatiana Shmayluk of Jinjer who's known as a beautiful beast of a vocalist in her band. Though her poppy cleans appear here rather than her unclean vocals. And I just wanna say thanks to Twelve Foot Ninja for blessing us with this music before their hiatus.
Utsu-P – HIKIZURI (from GALAPAGOS)
4.5/5. And here's an exciting piece of Vocaloid metal to end this playlist on a fun note!
Katatonia's "Sky Void of Stars" & Klone's "Meanwhile" are neck & neck in the race to take out The Gateway Release of the 2023 Award at the moment followed by Sleep Token's "Take Me Back To Eden". There's less than a week to go so get those ratings in guys.
So with the start of a new year it's once again time to have a look at the covers for all the releases for each clan. I personally like to rate a whole stack of covers all at once, rather than doing them one at a time throughout the year, as it allows me to get a better feel for where each cover sits in comparison to others. With that in mind, I've just rated every cover for releases in The Gateway for 2023.
Below are the releases that are currently competing for the prestigious 2023 The Gateway Cover of the Year Award (i.e. they rate at least 3.3 and have 3 or more ratings). The winner will be announced on the 1st of February, so there's still time to get your ratings in.